On February 13th, Al Thomm of the National Rifle Association-Political Victory Fund sent letters and surveys out to Kentucky candidates. Candidates have until March 5th to return the survey. The letter warns in bolded print that not returning the survey "can be interpreted by our membership as indifference, if not outright hostility, toward Second Amendment-related issues."
Some candidates see an implied threat in the bold face type. Others welcome an opportunity to speak their minds. Local activists urged publication of the letter in wake of the most recent school shootings.
The twenty two questions on the 3 ½ page survey are multiple choice and tailored to Kentucky. One has to wonder why such an emphasis on carrying firearms into the Capitol in Frankfort.
The National Rifle Association has a membership of five million in the US. It is not the only gun advocacy group, but it is the oldest and most powerful. The rating it gives candidates is one of its most potent weapons. The organization, once renowned for its gun safety training program, still has the program but it's no longer the NRA's claim to fame. Under Wayne LaPierre, political activism is the name of the game.
On February 14th, another mass shooting in another school, this time in Parkland Florida. Seventeen died when a former student opened fire with an assault weapon.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida received an A+ rating from the NRA. In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Scott said in 2014 that he signed "more pro-gun bills into law -- in one term -- than any other Governor in Florida history."
In an interview with The Hill within hours of the shooting, Gov. Scott "punted on questions about whether policymakers should take a stand on mental health and gun control, saying that "there's a time" to have such conversations.
"There's a time to continue to have these conversations about how through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding that we make sure that people are safe," Scott said at a news conference in Parkland, Florida."
Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are organizing marches and online campaigns.
Candidates have until March 5th to decide where they stand - with the students of Parkland Florida or with the NRA.